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Why Workers Don’t Wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?

You would imagine anyone in their sound mind would willingly wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when performing the dangerous tasks or activities. However, plenty of the workers don’t. They put themselves at the risk of injury or death and their employers at the risk of the prosecution.

We all understand that the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) can be the powerful last line of
the protection. But usually, you see workers not wearing the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?

Shocking Stats

In the 2015-2016 there were 144 deaths in the workplace or premises, and some 621,000 were non-fatal injuries.

Personal Protective Equipment PPE such as the hard hats, goggles, gloves and the boots play
an essential role in managing the Health and Safety Risks. However, the historical data or figures
hows many workers suffering or experiencing the injury were not the wearing Personal
Protective Equipment (PPE).

Health & Safety Executive (HSE) figures show there are around the 9,000 Personal Protective equipment (PPE) related incidents each year.

What’s going on?

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) can prevent or lessen the risk of eye, head or the bodily injury from all the manner or practices of activities, often those that you might presume are low risk, but especially when handling the chemicals and dangerous substances or from working with the machinery and tools.

Of course, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) only offers the protection if it’s worn otherwise
not.

Unluckily, history shows the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that employers provide or
give is often not worn at work.

Why do workers take risks?

So, understanding all this, why do workers prefer not to wear Personal Protective Equipment
(PPE)?

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) says that failure to use the provided Personal Protective
Equipment (PPE) costs around the £65m and that the underlying causes or reasons include.

• Little/no guidance or supervision;
• Lack of the procedure or process
• Poor awareness/risk perception or lock of the knowledge
• Human error/misjudgement or mistakes

Although the workers sometimes decline or refuse to wear Personal Protective Equipment
(PPE) on religious or the health grounds, most refusals are because of poor management,
training and communication.

If workers don’t understand why Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is needed or have no
way to choose it, they are more likely not to use it.

What are the steps, employers can take?

Employees should know why Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is needed and be trained or
qualified to use it correctly.

Employers must make sure that the workers are aware or informed of the dangers of not using
the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). They need to be educated and trained to buy into the
idea that Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should be used.

Indeed, education on the risks of the injury and training on the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) can change the attitudes and the practices that lead to the damage or injury.

When faced with the workers who refuse or resist to use the Personal Protective Equipment, you need to pin them down on worker’s objections or problems:

• Is it uncomfortable and awkward to wear?
• Is it too heavy or big?
• Does it restrict or limit the movement?

The Good communication, efficient or adequate consultation, better training and the reasonable adjustment is usually enough to head off the objections.

While the workers often complain Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) “gets in the way”, this feeling or attitude can be overcome if it ts well, of good quality, is comfortable, and does not prevent or stop them from moving or seeing.

What about the refusal on the religious or the other grounds?

The Law is crystal Clear: the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at Work Regulations 1992
include no exemptions from using or wearing the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) on
religious, medical or the other grounds.

The best-known example of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) clashing with the religious belief involves the turban-wearing Sikhs. While the Employment Act 1989 says that they do not have to wear the head protection, the exception only applies to the construction sites.

If your workers refuse to wear the required Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), they should
be re-deployed to a less the dangerous job or the area, or if necessary disciplined. Indeed, the
disobeying safety instructions should be at least as the serious as another rule breaking.

Contractual terms and the conditions should treat the failure to follow the reasonable Health and Safety instructions or guidance as for potential gross misconduct.

Communicate: Good Communication Helps Avoid Conflict.

Problems or difficulties often occur when the employers attempt to make the employees use the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) without first consulting or asking them.

If you insist “workers wear this…” then their likely attitude or behaviour will be “why should I?”

By contrast, the employers usually see a significant drop in incidents when workers are engaged and:

• Consulted on the best Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
• Educated on why it’s required or needed
• Given input on its

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